cobbler with a traditional biscuit topping this summer. If you are one of the many individuals salivating over photos and recipes for these desserts, yet frustrated by a lack of adaptations for the gluten-free and vegan kitchen, we have a tried-and-true solution for you. Using Blackbird Bakery’s Gluten-free blueberry cobbler recipe as our launching point, we spent a few months researching the most promising substitutions and continued tweaking small aspects of the recipe until arriving at the following version with expanded measurements for serving a crowd. Our generously-sized, mouthwatering cobbler can be made without eggs, dairy, gluten, or nuts and as such is a terrific dish to bring to a warm-weather potluck. It is a tantalizing combination of savory and sweet and its intense flavors are a great foil for your favorite vegan, gluten-free whipped topping or frozen non-dairy “ice cream.” This cobbler is best made with fresh-picked, wild or organic blueberries as these will provide the truest blueberry taste, but you may use any frozen or fresh berries you have available.
Avid bakers may have noticed that most cobblers rely on cinnamon to add a musty, spicy counterpoint to berries’ natural vibrance, but we have found that freshly grated nutmeg brings out an entirely different flavor in blueberries without the sometimes-overpowering effects of cinnamon. Likewise, we have discovered that a small amount of gluten-free masa harina or cornmeal creates a nutty butteriness and more dynamic texture in the biscuit topping without making it into an erstwhile cornbread. For the non-dairy yogurt and milk, our favorite options are unsweetened almond milk (such as unsweetened Almond Breeze) and coconut-milk yogurt (such as So Delicious unsweetened cultured coconut milk) but in making a nut-free version, we have also achieved a very agreeable results with unsweetened, enriched Rice Dream and various soy yogurts. Always be sure to check milk substitutes for malt flavoring, which, unless rice malt is specified, is made from barley and hence is not gluten-free. Similarly, if you are following a low-FODMAP diet, be aware that soy yogurt may not be well-tolerated and other ingredients, such as inulin, that are specific to vegan yogurts can also be difficult to digest.
Serves 8 to 12.
6 Tbsps (1/4 c plus 2 T, or 48g) arrowroot starch, or cornstarch
1 1/2 cups (320g) granulated sugar
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
juice of 1 1/2 lemons (1/3 cup, or 80 mL)
6 cups fresh or frozen wild or organic blueberries (roughly 830g)
gluten-free nonstick cooking spray or margarine for greasing the pan
1/2 cup vegan, gluten-free yogurt (120g)
1/2 cup gluten-free dairy-free milk (120 mL)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (5 mL)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, or 127g) gluten-free, vegan margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cups (188g) Carol’s sorghum blend*
3 T (24g) gluten-free masa harina or cornmeal
1 1/2 tsps xanthan gum or guar gum
1 T (11g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (4g) baking soda
*For more details on Carol Fenster and her recipe for a home-made all-purpose gluten free flour blend, read our oatmeal cookie post (http://www.exquisitedish.com/my-blog/2012/05/gluten-free-trail-mix-cookies.html) for in-depth info. If you do not have Carol’s sorghum blend ready-made, you can substitute the following approximation for purposes of this recipe:
1/2 cup (57g) sorghum flour
1/2 cup (71g) potato starch (or 60g corn starch)
1/2 cup (57g) tapioca flour/starch
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Measure out 3/4 cup of margarine and then divide into small chunks on a cutting board or plate and place it in the freezer to harden slightly and be well-chilled before using.
In the meantime, combine the vegan yogurt, non-dairy milk and vinegar in a small bowl and stir briefly to achieve a somewhat curdled texture like buttermilk. Allow mixture to rest at room temp while proceeding to make the berry filling.
For the berries, whisk together arrowroot starch or cornstarch, sugar and nutmeg in a large, heavy saucepan until no lumps remain. Add lemon juice and half of the blueberries. Stir until well combined. Cook over medium heat, about 5 minutes or until the mix just starts to bubble (overheating arrowroot starch can diminish its thickening properties). Turn off the heat and add the second half of the berries. Stir well and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk until all dry ingredients are evenly distributed and no lumps remain. Transfer to the bowl of a large food processor fitted with the dough blade, add the small, cold butter pieces and pulse (if not using a food processor, cut through the butter/flour mixture with two forks) until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the milk-yogurt-vinegar mixture and let the processor run for 30 seconds. Then scrape down the sides and let the motor run until the mixture comes together in a moist, thick batter roughly the consistency of soft-serve ice cream (or incorporate the buttermilk with a sturdy spoon or spatula).
Coat the inside of a large ceramic or glass baking pan (somewhere in the range of 7 x 11 inches to 9 x 12 inches -- or between 18cm x 28cm and 23cm x 31cm) with margarine or gluten-free cooking spray and pour the berry mixture into the bottom of the pan. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to place mounds of topping onto the berries. The topping will cover most but not all of the berries -- do not try to flatten or spread out the batter; the individual mounds are part of the rustic appeal and the "holes" allow the steam to escape without making the batter soggy.
Place the baking pan onto a cookie sheet (just in case the berries should bubble over the edge of the pan) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is firm and golden. If a darker hue is desired, after baking for the allotted time place the cobbler under the oven broiler for 2-3 minutes and monitor closely to prevent burning. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite non-dairy whipped topping or frozen dessert.